Thursday, November 12, 2015

Very High Water

I follow a red brick road of fallen oak leaves, the serpentine path meandering within the meanders.  It is the time of the year when the canoe no longer slices cleanly through the water - wads of leaves collect on the bow as I go and create a chaotic splash and patter until they slide away and are replaced by others.

It is also the first day of cold fingers.  Although the temperature is not that low, the light mist wets my skin and chills it just enough to remind me of what's ahead, and to remind me to start packing gloves.  There is no sun on such a day, but there is also no company on the river.  Even the birds lie low on days like this.

It goes to rain when I get down to the stone arch bridge and it rains solid and steady through the big bend and until I reach the RR bridge.  Today and at this time in the tide cycle the Sneak is anything but a sneak.  It is wide, deep and open.  In the river, I have been paddling into the flood current but less than ten feet into the Sneak I cross the line and I am propelled at good speed.

Something odd is going on with the tides today.  The tide is already as high as I have ever seen it and still there is a strong flood current.  It should be going slack by this point. 

When I get to Bailey Creek, I turn up instead of heading to the sea.  The flood is strong and there are eddies in the sharp bends.  Over four or five of those bends I flush about of fifty black ducks, going off in 5, then 2, then 8, then 4 and finally a good two dozen or so.
approaching the sawmill dam
When the rain comes again, I turn back.  I head up the sneak a short ways and then turn off onto a channel that I've never passed through.  The short spartina awash by eight inches, this narrow cut has broadened to never less than ten feet.  I head up river to visit known places at very high water if for no other reason than to gauge the phenomena.
the sawmill dam
I find the water at the sawmill dam ruins high enough that I can enter the stone channel that fed the undershot wheel.  The water has flooded the trees closest to the river.  Something I've never seen before.
the  swamp above Foote Bridge
And when I  return to the Foote Bridge, I find that I have to duck to pass under, yet another first.

(I checked the tide table when I got home and it was supposed to be at 5.6 ft, which is not particularly high and something that I am quite familiar with.  It looked to be in excess of 6 ft to me.  Perhaps there is some surge from offshore weather systems.)

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